Summit Proves That Political Parties Cannot Govern Effectively

Posted by politicalpartypooper on February 26, 2010

The Health Care summit had been described as a bipartisan effort at coming to agreement on a solution for America’s crumbling health care system.  But immediately after it was over, talking heads appeared on every news outlet to tell us what had really happened at the Blair House between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM, yesterday.  The debate was described as political theater, a contest of wills, and there was apparently a victor, although no one seems to know for sure who won.  Some say President Obama demeaned himself by sitting amongst the two sides and moderating the event, while others said the Republicans were disciplined in their message and had thus carried the day.  Others said that the Democrats had succeeded in proving their point; that the Republicans were the party of “no”.

I suppose that’s what you see when you believe in the Two Party system of American politics.  What I saw was a President who was willing to put his reputation on the line as a top-notch debater, gather the facts and opinions of each side, and try to find common ground.  Instead, what he got from both sides was the same thing America has received for two decades; stubborn partisanship, only this time it was far more civil.  If I tend to lean on the side of the Democrats in this article, it is only because I agree that we cannot afford to wait any longer to solve our health care problems, especially with regards to Medicare and people with pre-existing conditions.

It was made abundantly clear yesterday that both Republicans and Democrats agree on that fact.  Both sides say that insurers ought not to be allowed to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and that the rising cost of health insurance is causing businesses to lay people off.  The Democrats were unwilling to move off of their position of Federally mandated minimum provisions for any health insurance policy.*  But the Republicans were adamant, too, stating too many times to count that the current bill needs to be scrapped, Congress needs to start over with debate, and small, incremental steps are the way to solve the problem.

Maybe if we had started this process sixteen years ago, when the Republicans first promised that they would do exactly that, we would be able to afford that slow pace.  In 1994, Congressman Newt Gingrich and Senator Bob Dole told America that Republicans would work with Democrats on a comprehensive health care reform bill, but would not work with them on Hillary-Care.

Republicans won the House, and for twelve years was in the majority.  In all that time, they never brought one piece of legislation to bear on reforming health insurance, even though they knew, back in 1994, that America faced a health care and Medicare crisis that needed immediate attention.

To me, this sets the stage for yesterday’s “Summit”.  Democrats have been working for a year on a bill, and have included many of the ideas that Republicans suggested, and still, Republicans want to start over.  It’s too late to start over.  And it’s time to tell you what is really going on in Washington.

While I think President Obama was sincere in his approach to Republicans for the summit, I do not think that is even a part of the debate.  Rather, the debate hinges on the battle between doing what is best for one’s nation and what is best for one’s political party.  I think it became obvious yesterday which priority was most important to both parties.  And here I give the Democrats more credit than the Republicans, because at the very least, they are willing to make every attempt to solve a problem in America that is crippling us economically, killing 40,000 Americans  a year, and destroying Medicare.  They are no longer willing to compromise, but some might say that they have already compromised enough.

Republicans, on the other hand, have proven beyond the  shadow of a doubt that the only thing they are interested in doing is winning back Congress and the Senate in November.  Delay or obstruction on any and every piece of legislation, no matter how urgent, is their method of achieving it.  The Republican health care plan exposes this with startling clarity.  The Republican plan only provides health insurance for three million more Americans, while completely ignoring the pre-existing condition issue, which is the main issue driving the entire health care debate. So on one hand, Republicans will tell anyone within shouting distance how sympathetic they are to the plight of people who face rejection for health insurance due to their pre-existing conditions, while on the other hand, they completely ignore the issue in any legislative plan that they offer.

My mother used to tell me that the only way to prove how important something was to you was in how hard you worked for it.  Republicans are proving that health care reform is not important to them at all, as their every effort is aimed at starting over and going slowly.  But forty thousand dying Americans don’t have time to wait for Republicans to implement their decades-long incremental approach.

When an issue as important as health care reform is on the table, both parties need to drop their ideology and just fix the problem.  I know that might sound like the height of simplicity, but without the two parties, is there any denying that health care reform would already have been accomplished, or that we at the very least, would have made huge strides in doing so incrementally?

The Republicans are obstructing and delaying not because they do not believe in health care reform, but because their current ideology is one hundred percent focused on November elections.  The trouble is, the last time we had a health care debate, and Republicans claimed that solving the crisis was important to them, we gave them the House, and they proceeded to do nothing for twelve years.  I see no evidence that giving them back the House this time would produce any different result.  Any political party that can look forty thousand dying people in the eye and say, “Tort reform is the most important step in the health care debate” has no intention of dealing with the problem that is causing those deaths.

This is not an ideology thing.  It’s a Party thing.  The two parties are falling all over each other to destroy America.  Delay and obstruction are just two of the many symptoms that prove this.  And in the case of health care reform, no matter which side you believe is right, it is clear that unless America eliminates political parties from our government, the most important issues of our day will remain as campaign platforms.

Maybe the Democrats will get some balls and pass their bill through Reconciliation, but I ask you; why was that necessary at all?  The point isn’t that they are considering using a procedure normally reserved for questions of taxes and budget.  Instead, this is about the process that brought us to this point.  The process of political parties.  The struggle to dominate electorally, to win power and push through Party agenda.

I have a message for the two parties.  There is only one agenda; and that agenda belongs to the American people.  The American people are a diverse and complicated group, and no one agenda, no one size fits all of us.  That is why political parties are so dangerous to our process.  No one agenda can solve all of our problems; no one ideology can fit every American.  But political parties believe differently, which means they are diametrically opposed to the actual agenda of most Americans.  Political parties govern based not on what is good for the people, but what is good for the Party.  The health care debate has undeniably exposed this.  Yes, I agree with Democrats on this issue, but don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of areas where Democrats cling to their ideology at the expense of most Americans.

The only good thing that can be said about political parties is that they are committed. The American people just wish that they were as committed to us as they were to their party.  November is coming, and the only choice we have is whatever we consider to be the lesser evil at the moment.  The choice we face every two years, which pits one party against the other, shows each side calling the other the wrong choice.

America is bleeding to death, and the most important thing to the two parties is November.  By that time, 29,997 more Americans will have died due to a lack of health insurance.  You would think that would be the most important thing to our elected officials, but to a political party, “people” are just an abstract idea, a focus group to experiment on.

Oh, don’t come here trying to protect the party you support.  Too many times we have seen examples of both parties ignoring the good of the people, putting their party first.  The best thing that could happen to either party would be for them to be destroyed.  Incidentally, that would also be the very best thing that could happen to America.

* (from third paragraph)  What this means is that any health insurance policy sold in America must have a minimum set of provisions, and this is designed to set a level of minimum protections for the American consumer.  Currently, over twenty of our States, including mine, already have this in place, so the device that could trigger this is already available to us.   Ω


4 Responses to “Summit Proves That Political Parties Cannot Govern Effectively”

  1. Jonah said

    We give them too much power. Period. It’s now an industry. We know who makes their living off of it too.

  2. Jonah said

    Could you please remind Cescans than their beloved HealthCare Bill won’t take effect until over 4 years from now, 2014?

  3. Liberty4all said

    Ever consider why doctors don’t make house calls in America anymore?

    Of course doctors without borders doesn’t face that problem.

    Why won’t Democrats just pursue that savings too?

  4. Liberty4all said

    Democrats At Work:
    ( Maxine Waters try to pin down Bernanke )

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